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Driven to swim with the tide? Urban redevelopment and community participation in China
Hyun Bang Shin
February 2008
Paper No' CASE/130:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I30; T36; R50

Tags: neighbourhood governance; community participation; urban redevelopment; rightful claims; beijing; china

Over the last decade, there has been growing attention to the issue of neighbourhood governance and community participation in China. The focus has been on the extent to which community involvement in rule-making and decision-making processes could be promoted. The issue of community participation in urban redevelopment, however, has received little attention. Urban redevelopment in contemporary Chinese cities is taking place on an unprecedented scale, dissolving long-standing local communities and demolishing poverty-stricken neighbourhoods. Examining the case of Beijing, this paper questions current redevelopment planning and residents’ appeal procedures. It considers the extent to which local communities in dilapidated neighbourhoods have difficulty making an impact on decisions affecting their neighbourhoods’ redevelopment. The paper considers the extent to which local residents could express discontent and put forward ‘rightful claims’. The paper concludes that community participation in neighbourhood redevelopment remains at the bottom of the ladder of participation, and that the vested interests of local authorities and developers in urban redevelopment projects restrict poor residents’ active participation in decision-making processes.